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Penny Dreadful: Patti LuPone’s Cut-Wife Explained | Screen Rant

In season 2 of John Logan’s horror series Penny Dreadful, he introduces Patti LuPone’s Cut-Wife character in “The Nightcomers”; here is who she is.

Director John Logan’s horror drama series Penny Dreadful features an array of icons of the literary and cinematic genre. Season 2 of the series introduced Patti LuPone’s character named Joan Clayton, more commonly known as the Cut-Wife, in episode 3, “The Nightcomers”. She is a complex character that is utilized as a multifaceted plot device, here is LuPone’s Cut-Wife explained.

The series follows the main characters Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), and Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) as they navigate late 19th century supernatural London, England. As the series progresses, Vanessa’s backstory reveals that she is gifted with abilities beyond belief. After the death of her mother, Vanessa sought the Cut-Wife with the hope that she could assist her in controlling the supernatural powers. Despite the dark force that follows the young woman, the hedge witch took her in and taught her the ways of the daywalker tradition.

Related: Why Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels' Supernatural Elements Don't Work

As the season progresses, the Cut-Wife becomes an even more complicated character, as it is revealed that the evil witch Evelyn Poole (Helen McCrory) is her sister. The Cut-Wife ultimately finds the end of her life at the hands of a lynch mob that was formed by Evelyn; they burnt her alive. After her death, she left Vanessa the deed to her land and home in Ballentree Moor. While the Cut-Wife’s demise is a bit stereotypical, as it follows many witches' end, such as Myrtle Snow’s (Frances Conroy) death in American Horror Story: Coven, she remains one of the most unique witches in contemporary horror history.

When Lupone’s Cut-Wife is initially introduced, she is perceived as a cold and uncaring individual who has been hardened by life’s obstacles. She shows immense growth in this regard the longer her story line progresses but, ultimately, the scars of both her past and present leave lasting damage. When the Cut-Wife escaped her nefarious coven, she found solace in Ballentree Moor after choosing the light over the darkness that Evelyn and the rest of the coven turned towards. Despite this troubling history, it is her title of Cut-Wife that plagues her life far more than her devious sister, who insists that she follow the devil like the rest of them.

After moving to the moor, Joan Clayton became known as the Cut-Wife for her practice of aiding women in terminating unwanted pregnancies. The title plagues her throughout the episode as she feels a deep sense of remorse for her actions, but also describes the importance of her service to Vanessa. With her ability to successfully terminate unwanted pregnancies, she has aided women in living longer if it was a high-risk pregnancy, and saved impoverished women from further strain on their day to day life.

Ultimately, the Cut-Wife is an inspiring witch who has conquered leaving her coven, stood firm in her beliefs, and provided treatment to any woman who needed it. While her services lent fuel to the literal fire that caused the mob to burn her alive, she stood her ground regarding the importance of her work, and requests Vanessa continue. At this point, she reclaims the identity of being a Cut-Wife with pride. Penny Dreadful’s Cut-Wife is a unique and beautifully written character who leaves a lasting impression on the series as a whole.

More: Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels Theory: Tiago Can Defeat Magda

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